REPORT | Mariners beaten by Colchester at Blundell Park

Grimsby Town suffered defeat as Colchester United left Blundell Park with all three points.

A bizarre early own goal from away goalkeeper Owen Goodman gave the Mariners a dream start to the game but Colchester’s response was swift and Joe Taylor levelled the scores on 10 minutes.

The visitors went in at the break with the lead after Zach Mitchell completed the turnaround but Town began the second half on the attack and got themselves level through Donovan Wilson.

From there, it looked like the momentum was with the hosts as they aimed to go on and win the game but instead, it was Colchester who grabbed the crucial fifth goal of the evening as Arthur Read’s deflected shot settled the contest in their favour.

Abo Eisa replaced the suspended Harry Clifton in the only change to the Grimsby team that began the narrow loss to league-leaders Stockport County on Saturday.

Jake Eastwood started in goal, with Michee Efete and Danny Amos again given wing-back roles as Toby Mullarkey, Harvey Rodgers and Niall Maher formed a back three.  Gavan Holohan, Kamil Conteh and Eisa were the midfielders and Danny Rose linked up with Wilson in attack.

The substitutes were Harvey Cartwright, Kieran Green, Luke Waterfall, Rekeil Pyke, Otis Khan, Arthur Gnahoua and Jamie Andrews.

Colchester made the long trip from Essex with interim boss Matty Etherington in charge for the first time after Ben Garner was sacked following Saturday’s home defeat by Harrogate Town.

That loss was the Us’ fourth in a row in the league and Etherington made two changes to his team in a bid to stop the run, with Samson Tovide and Arthur Read coming in for Noah Chilvers and Bradley Ihionvien.

Maher had to concede the game’s first corner as he headed a cross from the right behind and after the ball was played short from the flag, a strike from distance by Chay Cooper was deflected over the bar for another Colchester corner.  This time, it led to a Town free kick.

A penalty appeal from Rose for a handball was ignored by the referee, then a run from Amos led to a flick-on inside the box from Wilson but nobody in black and white was in place to capitalise.

The Mariners took the lead soon afterwards though, in bizarre fashion.  An interception by defender Will Greenidge sent the ball back towards the Colchester goal and when it bounced awkwardly in front of goalkeeper Goodman, he could only head it into the air and watch helplessly as it bounced into the net for an own-goal.

But the visitors were not behind for long, as they equalised within three minutes.  A through-ball found TAYLOR inside the box and he drilled a low finish across Eastwood from the right and into the far corner of the net.

After a quiet opening to the contest, it had burst into life with the own-goal on seven minutes, with Colchester serving up an admirable response to going behind.

Conteh saw a shot blocked after Eisa had played a free kick low and short to him, then a long-range effort from Holohan was comfortably caught by Goodman as Town started to get on top.

Rose slipped as he met a cross-field ball from Amos on the edge of the box, before a great save by the keeper denied Holohan after the midfielder let fly from 20 yards.

Maher had to step in to clear after a mistake at the back almost led to an opening for the visitors, then defender Mitchell was shown the first yellow card of the evening for bringing Wilson down near the halfway line.

Taylor was caught offside as he met a low cross from the left after a quick break, before Read fired wide after Efete had lost possession as the away side put together a spell of pressure.

Holohn went down twice in quick succession but stayed on the pitch after treatment as he looked to run his injury off.

After a bright opening for the Mariners, Colchester had started to take the initiative and they completed the turnaround on 34 minutes to grab the lead.  A corner from the right was missed by Eastwood and when the ball dropped for MITCHELL, he had the simple task of putting it into the net from close range.

Holohan, still suffering from the effects of his knock, was replaced by Andrews after the goal in the evening’s first substitution.

Andrews was shown the yellow card on 38 minutes for a foul on the pacy Fevrier on the Colchester left, although the away side could not profit from the free kick.

Amos and Eisa linked up to set up an attack as the Mariners looked to get themselves level before the break but when the ball was played to Wilson on the edge of the box, he was unable to bring it under control.

The fourth official signalled for a minimum of six added minutes and a good interception from Read stopped a low ball towards the penalty area from Amos on the left.

A Colchester break down their right led to Eastwood being called into action to parry a powerful drive from Cooper.

No further chances came before the referee’s half-time whistle, leaving the Mariners with plenty of work still to do after the interval.


Green replaced Mullarkey before the restart in Town’s second substitution, as the hosts changed their shape with Efete and Amos now on the edges of a back four.

Goodman made a brilliant save as he dived full-length to claw a header from Rose away from the net, then a corner led to a flick from Wilson also being saved by the keeper as the hosts made a purposeful start to the second half.

And that positive opening got its reward six minutes in, when the Mariners found their equaliser.  The ball fell for WILSON on the edge of the box and he sent an instinctive finish past Goodman and into the bottom corner of the net in front of the Pontoon Stand.

Rose went close to putting the home side ahead again with a header but the keeper was equal to it as he dived to get fingertips to the ball.  The rebound came quickly to Eisa and he could only divert it behind for a goal kick from a narrow angle.

Tom Dallison and Jay Mingi came on for Cooper and Mitchell in a Colchester double-substitution and Dallison was quickly shown the yellow card for a foul on Rose to the left of the away penalty area.  Eisa’s free kick was eventually scrambled clear.

All the momentum was now with the Mariners but when the game’s fifth goal arrived on 65 minutes, it was the visitors who got it against the run of play.  Andrews lost possession in midfield and READ brought the ball forward before hitting a shot from 25 yards which took a heavy deflection on its way past Eastwood.

Mandela Egbo was booked for a foul and the free kick from Eisa on the left was headed away for a corner as Town looked for an instant response.  Amos’ delivery from the right led to another one, this time on the left.  Andrews did well to chase the ball from it down on the right and get a cross in but it was cleared.

A Colchester break moments later led to Taylor working his way into the box from the left but he went down easily under a challenge and the referee waved play on.

A shot from Eisa was blocked, then a quick break down the away right led to a chance for them to wrap the points up as Taylor sent a cross over for Tovide, although the striker could not control his volley and the ball flew over the bar.

That proved to be Tovide’s last involvement in the game as he was replaced by Noah Chilvers, then Rose was unable to direct a header towards goal from Eisa’s left-wing cross.

A cross from Efete was headed clear at the far post, before Eisa ran through the middle and let fly from 20 yards, although Goodman got down to stop the shot.

Green did well to win the ball back after losing out to Chilvers on the edge of his own penalty area, then Tom Hopper was sent on in place of Taylor for the last five minutes in Colchester’s latest change.

Gnahoua replaced Conteh as Town responded with a substitution of their own, just before the game moved into at least four additional minutes.

The hosts pushed forward in search of another equaliser to rescue a point from the game but Colchester held firm at the back to ensure they were the ones celebrating at the final whistle.

Town are next in action on Saturday, when they make the short trip to Doncaster Rovers.




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